The cat is out of the bag. The. Cat. Is. Out. Of. The. Bag. I wasn’t saying anything to anyone, or posted publicly because, well, you know, superstitious. But, someone, Ms. Fancy Pants, has been posting on Facebook abut 5 seconds after she turned her phone on, so I guess, I owe everyone an explanation.
JoDee is home. She is clean. She is doing well. Much, much better then I have seen in many years. Instead of addictionish asshole-ness, now she is just normal millennial asshole-ness. It’s a welcome change.
How that happened is a story that will be hard to tell. To put certain emotions into words is so, so hard sometimes. Describing the chain of events that lead up to her homecoming involves an article on Facebook, a nightmare and a gut feeling. Buckle in because this is going to be an interesting ride. And it won’t be a quick one. This will not be a fast read, they will be long, and emotional, and probably several entries long but that’s because there will be no way for me to explain it without a lot of the detail. So, sit down and catch up, or ask someone who does for the cliff notes version.
We have been doing this dance with JoDee where I am the only one who talks to her, and even talking to her is probably a stretch, but never tell anyone that I do. She would call me for an Uber ride because she was late for an appointment, or someone was chasing her, or mean to her, or otherwise in need of a ride immediately, and I would use my Uber app to send it to her. This usually involved the driver not being able to find her, so they are calling me, while she is texting me saying she doesn’t see them. It almost always encompassed a stressful, anxiety-provoking chain of calls, and yelling, and my being upset, all while I am at work. Couple that with the calls for a toothbrush, a jacket which can double as a blanket and a winter that proved to be hard on both of us: emotionally and environmentally and it spells enough. I was at my end. I was at my rock bottom. My rock bottom is probably different from most peoples because the average person processes emotions on a regular basis. Emotions other than anger, irritation, or rage. Those three emotions I have down but crying? Sobbing? Defeat? Me? Defeat? I mean, come on, who is going to believe that? Believe it. I was swinging between no sleep and sleep like Rip Van Winkle. I vacillated between I am not getting out of bed and I can’t lay down for one more minute. I either didn’t shower for days, or I stood in the shower every day until the water was so cold I saw penguins run by me. It was so taxing. And I’m sure you can imagine how taxing this was to my family.
The truth is I’m a fraud. I write these blogs about cutting off your addict even though they are your child or your husband or your sister. I preach that tough love is the way it must be because otherwise we are enabling them. But suddenly I was faced with the absolute realization that I was the enabler. I was the life line she would always have. She would be able to call me to get an Uber ride, or money for toiletries and no matter how nasty she was to me, or the fact that she shut her phone off for days at a time wouldn’t matter because I would still do what ever she needed. Now, don’t misunderstand me, she was homeless. Not the kind of homeless like she was staying at a friend’s house because I kicked her out homeless but HOMELESS. No home. Natta. Zippo. Tent city. Squatting on a porch. Shelters and soup kitchens. Finding places to shower. And by the time I saw her, it was clear that wasn’t all that often. So, my enabling her didn’t feel like I was enabling her because she was fucking homeless. I mean, how can I enable someone I won’t even give a roof over her head too? But, alas, it was happening. Around the same time that I was reaching this peak of lowness, I saw an article on Facebook, probably in one of the many addiction groups I am part of, that said He is an Addict and an Asshole. The point of the article was that this girls father was an addict. He spent her entire childhood couch jumping, getting arrested and dodging all responsibilities as a father. And, she spent her childhood blaming everything on his addiction. Having spent enough time around Al-Anon, Learn to Cope, NA, AA, and any other acronym you can think of I knew that she was supposed to say that it wasn’t his fault. And then. There is always an aha moment. The girl meant up with her father years into her adulthood and years into his sobriety to discover, he was an asshole. Addiction or not, he was a dick. Entitled, nasty, lazy. A general jackwagon that no one would want to be around. For her, that closed the book on that chapter. She could walk away knowing it wasn’t because she was a bad girl, or a shitty person, but because he just sucked. For her it was a relief. For me, it was the anchor I needed to finally hit the bottom.
An idea is such a little thing sometimes. It starts small. And then the more I pontificate on it, it grows, sometimes into something way out of line. In this case, I started to think that JoDee was becoming an asshole. I started believing that even if she were clean she wouldn’t be a good person. I can’t tell you how that feels. I cannot describe the absolute gut-wrenching, violating, vulnerable, magnificently disillusioned feeling that was. For days I kept going back to read the article. And, I would bring it up to AC without ever really telling him I read it, in ways that must have seemed innocuous to him. At dinner I would ask if he thought if JoDee found recovery we would like her. Or while doing errands I would ask him if he thought people who met JoDee now but didn’t know her before would think she was a bad person. I have heard so many stories of people having an existential crisis, but I can only tell you that whatever you think it is, is a million and fifty times worse when it happens to you.
Around this time AC and I were shopping for plants (because you know, retail therapy) in Home Depot and we ran into two of my favorite people in the world. While we were catching up, of course, the subject turned to JoDee. I said it for the first time out loud that day, surprising myself when it came out of my mouth, that I was going to have to cut her off soon because she wasn’t the person I thought she was. I said I was going to have to cut her off, like your dead to me, cut her off. The words felt like balls of cotton in my throat, and the voice that said them didn’t even sound like mine. I believe my next words were, I can’t talk about it anymore because there is no crying in Home Depot. Humor. That is another emotion I can contend with. That night I woke up at 2 in the morning crying. That might not seem so unusual given the state of my life for the last 7 years, but this was not like cute little tears running down my cheeks. This was ugly, sub-sub, can’t catch my breath sobbing. I can only think of about 5 times in the last 5 years that has happened. And none of them were good situations.
I didn’t want to wake up AC so I laid there biting my blanket, crying, and sobbing, and feeling the complete defeat that had become all of us for hours. When AC finally woke up he knew something was very wrong as soon as he saw me. He tried to talk to me, to comfort me, but I cannot handle these types of things. I would rather ass punch you with a meat cleaver then feel these things. So, needless to say I wasn’t really receptive to his loving embrace. I believe I yelled some profanity and took a shower where I stood crying and cursing whatever spiritual beings there are for an hour. The next 24 hours were something out of The Walking Dead for me. I was like Morgan. I could only think of the loss of my child, I was not really present in anything I did, and I was a complete nut job. Well, more of a nut job then I usually am. I had to tell AC how I felt. And I did. Of course, when he tried to calm me down to tell me that it wasn’t like that I threatened to stab him in the neck with a fork while he slept so he just sat there staring at me. Ironically, I fell into such a deep sleep, the kind of deep sleep I hadn’t had in a long, long time, that night. Sadly, that blissfully deep sleep was fraught with a terrible nightmare about JoDee drowning and me trying to save her but her pushing me under the water to save herself. It was both awful and metaphorically perfect for how I was feeling. That morning, between rib-breaking sobs, I told him it was time. I had to say good bye to her. I was going to call her to tell her that she could no longer use me as her life line and she was on her own. After getting ready for work, I got in my car and dialed her number. Two rings later she answered the phone, and then hello changed everything.